by: Michael Shields
Action Bronson and Party Supplies reunite for a sequel to their highly-acclaimed mixtape, Blue Chips…..
The initial Blue Chips is an absolute classic. When I am pushing the lyrical styling’s of Action Bronson on anyone, an easy task usually, I am happy to share with them the independently released Dr. Lecter ((With Tommy Mas.)) or Well Done ((With Statik Selektah.)). I could easily gift them with a link to a series of impressive mixtapes such as Bon Appétit….Bitch, The Program EP, or Rare Chandeliers ((With The Alchemist.)). I could even go hand to hand with the recently released Saaab Stories, a stunning but altogether much too short EP created in collaboration with the accomplished producer Harry Fraud. But, to start them off right, I am going to steer them directly to Blue Chips, easily for me 2012’s mixtape of the year which teamed Action Bronson with Party Supplies (born Justin Nealis), endowing us with Bam Bam’s ((One of Action Bronson’s many nicknames/personas. Others include Bronsolino, Larry Csonka, Mr. Baklava, etc,etc.)) most prolific and inspired works to date.
Blue Chips (1) featured producer Party Supplies ((Best known for Danny Brown’s single “Grown Up”, Party Supplies also released a solo album entitled Tough Love in August. It’s worth a go!)) crafting a light-hearted and frolicsome backdrop for Bronson to work with. Sourcing samples from YouTube and melding them with familiar breakbeats, Cyrus Neville, the Flamingos, and Frank Zappa samples, Party Supplies created a tonally perfect yet unusual patchwork of sound that works so perfectly with Action Bronson’s comical sensibilities. Blue Chips was a rousing success, and luckily with the just released Blue Chips 2 they don’t monkey with the formula. They stick to what works to splendid success, and Blue Chips 2 is a sequel almost as good as its predecessor.
“That, right. Bam Bam in the motherfucking building. Queens, New York. Straight up. Drop that shit. It’s me. I built this shit. Yeah. Let me begin baby. My name is Bronsolino yo….
And thus begins Blue Chips 2, an exercise in dexterity that realizes both Action Bronson and Party Supplies at the peak of their game. It seems that in the time between albums both have honed their skills and what they bring to the table manifests itself as one of the most ambitious and boisterous mixtapes to ever hit the streets. Describing in detail the 19 tracks that span this multifarious album would be near impossible, a fool’s errand really. It is a box overflowing with samples, cunning and bizarre references ((Zinedine Zidane and WWE entertainer Rey Mysterio being two of my personal favorites)), snippets of NBA player’s post-game rants (Including Iverson’s ‘Practice’ rant on the confidence-laced banger aptly titled “Practice.”), commercial interludes ((Phil Mickleson in the house!)), and rhymes upon rhymes upon rhymes. But the clutter works, and makes senses as a whole in that Action Bronson is an anomaly, a fire-spitting force of nature who is sculpting out his own niche, his own sub-genre even, within the hip-hop game. And, he is doing it his way.
There are standouts on Blue Chips 2 of course. “Pepe Lopez” gets things cooking, utilizing the all too memorable “Tequila” song to set the whimsical tone that permeates the album. “Contemporary Man” finds Party Supplies literally showing off his command of weaving samples into a diverse tapestry of sound, while Bronson proves that he can rap over literally anything. Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”, Phil Collins’ “Sussudio” and “Another Day in Paradise”, John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane”, and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam’s “I Wonder if I Take You Home” set the tone as Bronson lets you know just what type of eccentric he really is – “Yo, I’m a wild freak / Hit shorty where the child sleep / While her mother make soup with the cow feet.”
“Twin Puegots” features two of the hottest rappers in the game right now in Action Bronson and Mac Miller ((The album also features worthy verses from Meyhem Lauren and Ab-Soul)). Mac’s youth and technical prowess breathe additional life and cheer into Blue Chips 2, and a collaboration between him and Party Supplies would be something I would celebrate if ever they decide to join forces. “It’s Me” finds Bronson spitting over a beat that sounds ripped straight off The Little Mermaid soundtrack, and I mean that as a strange sort of complement. This leads us into the feel-good saxophone-heavy “Flip Ya” featuring the gritty flow of Retchy P. “9.24.13” links us back to “9.24.11” off the original Blue Chips and has the similar free-flowing feel. It also provides us with the most theatrical moment of the album, when Bronson commands his driver to take him to The Garden so he can “motivate” Patrick Ewing to miss a crucial finger roll in the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals by offering him a choice between cash and a gat, a premise that acted as the trailer to the album prior to its release.
“Rolling Thunder” is unique in that it is presented as a track featuring Action Bronson. In the track he compares himself to “The rap Dennis the Menace with Dennis Rodman in Venice inventive,” and he also surprises his girl with a distinctive gift to say the least, “face to face toilets!”
There are copious amounts of other gems on the album – that, I assure you. “It Concerns Me”, “Jackson Travolta”, and “n The City” all perfectly round out this peculiar piece of art. Action Bronson and Party Supplies are a duo destined to make waves together for years to come. Word is this is the last in the Blue Chip series, but they have already hinted at the possibility of birthing another concept album or two in the future ((Bronson also has a forthcoming food series on Vice and a commercial LP debut through Vice’s partnership with Warner Bros in the works.)). Here’s hoping.
Of all the producers he’s hooked up with, Party Supplies seems to be the best fit for Bronson’s style. His production is subtle and unconventional. When working with Party Supplies, Bronson seems to be at his most playful, and this is when he shines. But it is of the utmost importance to not dare dismiss the antics on this album as novelty rap. Although he will no doubt catch you off guard, doubling you over in laughter many times throughout the album, Action Bronson is the real deal. In the last three years he has released well over 100 songs, with the quality never wavering. It’s at the point now where we are required to talk about Bronson as one of the best in the game. And, with the incredible catalog of prodigious music that he has already amassed, it is not insane to think that one day in the distant future we will be talking about him as one of the best to ever do it. Blue Chips 2 is an instant classic, and without a doubt ranks up there with the elite sequels of all time.